Books & Review
Updated: Sep 14, 2012 10:05 AM EDT


“Do you think we choose to be born? Or are we fitted to the times we’re born into?” Day-Lewis asks as Abraham Lincoln in a poignant shot from the film.
(Photo : Dreamworks)

Here's the first look at the full-length trailer for Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln," starring modern chameleon Daniel Day-Lewis as the president. (See trailer below) 

The trailer begins with the same first shot as the teaser we got Sept. 11, the camera panning across an enigmatic vision of Lincoln while a soldier proudly recites a section of Lincoln's famous Gettysburg Address, seemingly to Lincoln himself. But after the first 30-seconds, it's clear what Spielberg's intentions are: The Oscar's. Of course, you could have guessed that yourself just from looking at the title and cast.

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As images of a ravaged post-civil war U.S. landscape flash across the screen, Lincoln discusses the challenges of abolishing slavery, and ending the civil war simultaneously with his colleagues. "Blood's been spilt to afford us this moment..." Day-Lewis passionately pleads to fellow politicians in one scene. And that sense of energy and purpose is indeed palpable in this new trailer.

Everyone will be talking about Day-Lewis' portrayal, particularly the accent he chose to play Lincoln with. No recordings of Lincoln's voice exist, since he died 12 years before Thomas Edison invented the phonograph, the first device to record and play back sound, but Day-Lewis' delivery looks to pack quite a punch as usual. His impeccable knack for naturally slipping into foreign skin looks to be on par with some of his best past performances ("There Will Be Blood").

"Do you think we choose to be born? Or are we fitted to the times we're born into?" Day-Lewis asks in a poignant shot from the film. It's difficult to tell if we're getting an unvarnished look at Lincoln, but from the power of the trailer, we'll leave the questions of accuracy up to historians. The trailer seems to promise the kind of grand film scale demanded to make a movie about this imposing a subject.

We also get our first looks at Tommy Lee Jones as abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Lincoln's son Robert Todd, and Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln.

"Lincoln," is said to be a revealing drama that focuses on the 16th President's tumultuous final months in office. "In a nation divided by war and the strong winds of change, Lincoln pursues a course of action designed to end the war, unite the country and abolish slavery," says Dreamworks. "With the moral courage and fierce determination to succeed, his choices during this critical moment will change the fate of generations to come."

Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, Hal Holbrook and Tommy Lee Jones, "Lincoln" is produced by Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, with a screenplay by Tony Kushner, the film is based in part on the book "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln" by Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Goodwin's book is a biographical portrait of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln and some of the men who served with him in his Cabinet from 1861 to 1865. The book focuses on Lincoln's mostly successful attempts to reconcile conflicting personalities and political factions on the path to abolition and victory in the US Civil War.

(Photo: Barnes & Noble. Goodwin's book is a biographical portrait of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln and some of the men who served with him in his Cabinet from 1861 to 1865.)

(Photo: Barnes & Noble. Goodwin's book is a biographical portrait of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln and some of the men who served with him in his Cabinet from 1861 to 1865.)

While consulting on a Steven Spielberg project in 1999, Goodwin told Spielberg she was planning to write "Team of Rivals," and Spielberg immediately told her he wanted the rights to the film. DreamWorks finalized the deal in 2001. "Lincoln" has been in pre-production ever since. Lewis agreed to play Abraham Lincoln after Liam Neeson withdrew from the project in 2010 after being attached from the start; with Sally Field playing Mary Todd Lincoln. The screenplay was written by Tony Kushner.

According to Spielberg, Goodwin's entire book about Lincoln's presidency is "much too big" for a film, but the director said that the film will focus in on the last few months of Lincoln's life, the ending of slavery, and the Union victory in the Civil War. "What permanently ended slavery was the very close vote in the House of Representatives over the Thirteenth Amendment - that story I'm excited to tell," said Spielberg. He plans to show "Lincoln at work - not just Lincoln standing around posing for the history books... [He was] arguably the greatest working President in American history doing some of the greatest work for the world."

Screenwriter Kushner reportedly spent six years writing the screenplay, saying he was very interested in "the relationship of Lincoln to the abolitionist left." Kushner has also said he was impressed with Lincoln's "incredible ability to finesse very, very treacherous political circumstances and continue to move the country forward, I mean, to lead the country forward in the midst of the most horrendously difficult period in its history, I think, is breathtaking and awe-inspiring."

Filming took place in Petersburg, Virginia. "One thing that attracted the filmmakers to the city was the 180-degree vista of historic structures," which is "very rare," according to location manager Colleen Gibbons. Lincoln toured Petersburg on April 3, 1865, the day after it fell to the Union Army. Scenes have also been filmed at the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond, which served as the Capitol of the Confederacy during the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln visited the building on April 4, 1865, after Richmond fell to the Union Army.

Lincoln will be released in U.S. theaters exclusively on Nov. 9, with expansion on Nov. 16.

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